March 16, 2021•335 words
Yesterday, when I was walking around the city, I came up to see Unity Centre, the tallest building in Krakow. Compared to other cities, it's not very tall. But it is, still the tallest. There's a very fascinating backstory on that building, how it started in the 70s but was never finished, and how just the structure stood there for forty years. It was even dubbed szkieletor (lit. skeleton) by locals. In 2016, after long legal proceedings, it was bought out by a private investor who finally finished the building and made it into a business complex.
I haven't seen the end result before. Even though it was finished summer last year, I just haven't had any reason to go to that part of town. The building itself is quite nice, imitating the art-deco style of the 30s, with some modern touches. There's the main tower and two smaller office buildings to either side of it.
Of course, it was all empty. Not a single soul around. I couldn't even see the guard or receptionist through the windows; the reception desk was empty. But what stood out to me the most, was a big banner right on the tower saying 'offices for lease'. It wasn't a small sign somewhere near the entrance. No, it was a huge banner, around floors 10-12, it could be seen from a few hundred meters with ease.
Isn't this kind of sad? Such a huge, pompous investment, left all empty, struggling for clients.
Distributed work has been here for a long time. Certainly not mainstream pre-COVID, but still a strong, healthy, alternative mode of working. Those who adapted first, the companies who didn't discard 'sitting at home all day' (which is, in itself, a myth), they stayed behind. But especially after COVID, as we all now know.
We're going back to the Renaissance-artist-at-work-model. People having their own workshops, offices. Connected through the magic of the Internet. Anyone investing in, supporting, pushing for the 80s-everybody-in-a-huge-office model, is, sadly, a fool.